Episode #240 – Helping You Meet the Challenges of the Rapidly Advancing Technology Changing Our Lives

May 29, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has had numerous effects on all of us and has been a catalyst for change in many areas.  One significant impact is in the rapidly changing world of technology. It’s changed where and how we work, how our children learn, how we shop and spend, how we make financial transactions, and even how we consume medical services. CFN’s John Walker talks with computing technology professional Jason Perlow to discuss several recent advancements and what impact the accelerated rate of technological change has had on our lives.

 Program Length: 26 minutes

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Transcript:
The content shared on your life, your wealth network reflects the views of the host and guests of the program only and are not necessarily the views of Cordasco Financial Network or its advisers. This media production is educational in nature and should not be construed as financial, legal or tax advice or a solicitation or presentation of sale of any financial products or services. Please consult a professional prior to making any financial tax or legal decision.

Welcome to the your life, your well network, helping you find clarity and comfort for your life.

And well, hey, welcome to the Your Life Your Wealth show. I’m John Walker from Cordasco Financial Network.

Today, we’re gonna jump into a topic that is really relevant and something that we’ve been impressed with at CNN, with the people that we helped in this unexpected speed with which people have adopted new technology, that the Cauvin 19 pandemic has had a massive impact on technology itself. But just how quickly we have adopted this change, how it has changed, how we do business, how it has changed, how we at CNN deliver for the people that we help, how? Maybe for you it has changed how you interact with your family, how you do work yourself, how you educate your children, how you shop, how you get the things that you need. It’s been amazing how quickly people have adapted where maybe they were resistant in the past.

We have people that we’ve been helping for years that would want to come into the city and meet with us and see us and work with us face to face that now say yeah, face time. Hey, let’s do it over videoconference. Let’s work in a different way. I am now comfortable with this where I wasn’t before.

And so this pandemic has been a catalyst to an accelerated change and it has impacted so many different aspects of our life. And so today we’re gonna jump into some of those changes that we have seen and we’re going to talk about what does it look like in this new post pandemic world.

Joining me today is Jason Perlow, the senior technology editor as Zedi Net, which is a business and technology news and information Web site that has a focus on hot topics like this and emerging trends and technologies. Jason is also the editorial director at the Linux Foundation, which is in an organization that supported by leading technology companies and developers from across the globe. Early in his career, he has a little background like we do. He worked in various fitting shops on Wall Street, including JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs and others you’ve probably heard of. Jason, welcome to the program. Well, thank you for having me. We’re thrilled to have you here, because certainly this is a topic that is really in the news and certainly on many of our listeners minds. Right. We have seen the impact that the Cauvin 19 pandemic has had on all the technology around us. We’ve got some of our folks that we helped that are in their 80s adopting technologies that never got across their mind, face time in their kids working over video conference with us, just to name a few little examples. But there’s so many other things that the pandemic has moved us forward from a technology standpoint at an at an unprecedented speed, from what I can see, between how we work the medical field, how teachers are interacting with children, how we shop, so many other things. So thrilled to have you come in and give your perspective on this. Share your expertize on this. What’s the technology world thinking is going to be the impact?

A lot of the developments in technology, at least in the past 40 years, have happened as a result of an accelerant or a reason to adopt that technology because people don’t like the change that they don’t have to. So as far as working from home, I work from home for the last 15 years.

I was a computer engineer, a computer systems integrator by profession. Right. And most of it was employed from home unless we had to travel. So I was happy with the Home Office. But now what you’re seeing is, is this massive change of people working from home because of Koban 19. And what businesses are discovering is when people thought that it wasn’t going to work, that they were going to be challenges, that it was going to disrupt productivity.

And what they’ve now learned is, well, actually, no, it doesn’t. It’s a lot of strupp that can be done from home. People can do a lot of different types of work from home unless it’s a direct customer touch, which is becoming less and less popular now because of Koban 19.

So there’s a lot of things that can be done from home. And because of that, that’s required the deployment of things like fiber optic technology.

We’ve had videoconferencing technologies for for over 10, 15 years. The point is that no one has decided to really use them on a day to day basis until it was absolutely necessary, which is now. So sometimes, you know, things get adopted because they have to be adopted, because there’s a compelling reason why you use.

One of the things you said there, I think that’s so important is the term accelerate. I think your world, the technology world, the advancements have been there, right? That the technology has been there. The readiness has been there. There’s been a reticence on the part of people and businesses to adopt this. Right. But now it’s like the resistance basically evaporated overnight. And it’s amazing because it’s not just that people have adopted technology, but as you said, they’ve been forced into it in many cases. A lot of folks don’t want to go back to the way things were. They don’t want to go back into a closed in office space. They like the ability and many of the people that we help are now much more comfortable with, hey, you know what? I don’t need to come into the city and each in your office. I’m happy to just video and see your face and I’ll stay in my living. Because it’s easier for me, it’s more comfortable. I can still interact with you and engage with you in a way I’m happy with. There’s less of a friction.

There’s not as much inconvenience. You don’t have to drive an hour and a half in traffic each way to get to work. And you’re in and you lose all that productivity at the same time. Right. So the definite advantages to working from home now, of course, there is there are some disadvantages. Right. Which is I don’t get to have lunch with my colleagues. I don’t get to have that cooler talk. I don’t get to go out for happy hour with them at the end. The day we have to kind of replace some of those things with new office bonding exercises.

Yeah, I like the zoom. Happy hour. Right. The integration of the team. We do that ourselves. We start every day and every day with videoconference meetings so that the team can share what’s been going on. Talk about cases we’re working on, provide feedback from the people that we’ve talked to so that we’re all on the same page and we can sort of still keep that camaraderie, that sharing of ideas. But it does present new challenges. A lot of our business owners, right. Have had to very quickly adopt change and whether they wanted to or not to sustain their businesses, it seems like many of them were equipped for it, but many of us were not. And providers have very quickly been able to jump in and still some of those needs for them. Can you speak to that a little bit of how this has maybe changed what business owners need to do on a go forward basis?

Well, it’s changed, you know, both B2B and also be to see relationships significantly. Right. So let’s take a look at something as simple as financial transactions. Money. Right. Just just paying for stuff. Used to be from retail perspective. Customer comes into the store, picks up a packet, walks up to the front terminal where the employee is and does a transaction that you may do it with cash, handing over greenbacks or handing over his plastic card.

And there was touch involved. You’re touching somebody that hand over a card. You’re touching a terminal potentially to start a transaction of some type is a certain workflow that occurs to do a financial transaction in the olden days. Right. Nobody wants to do that anymore. You don’t want to have to physically hand over cash. That’s an anathema. Or Hanno your credit card then worrying about sterilizing it afterwards or touching your hands on a terminal to start a transaction. You want to be able to have the most touchless interaction as possible in an ideal world. Walk into a store, there’s a package waiting for you. You walk out the store and there are technologies that will allow you to do that. Presumably RFID or radio frequency identifier, you drive your card.

There are tulse systems in place where you can literally drive through that tall and even stop at 65 miles an hour. And the money collected. So that same technology can be applied to retail. Amazon has certain prototype stores. They haven’t in a few states. I think they have one in New York City and I think they have a couple in Seattle. But you can literally walk into a Amazon branded brick and mortar store. You walk into the store, you pick up, you physically pick up the item that you want and you walk out of the store. You never talk to a person. That store is able to understand from your smartphone, which remember ideas, and it knows what items you picked up as you walked out of the store and in decrement your account is needed. Now, of course, that’s the technology that would be the Star Trek level stuff if every retailer did it. Now, there are other ways, of course, that doing touches transactions. There are also e wallets that are built into your smartphones and your smartwatch is right. We’ve had wallets for a good five plus years, just people we’re not accustomed to loading their credit cards into these E wallets. And oh, I don’t trust it because maybe my credit card number can get stolen by everybody. There’s always a litany of excuses why people don’t want to change to do something. But this virus has now made it essentially much more profitable to work with electronic wallet than it is a physical one with these electronic wallet systems that use this technology called near field computer NFC. And it’s also built into some of the credit cards as well. If you look at your credit card, you see a little symbol that looks like a Wi-Fi symbol that’s in your field computing. You can pass that credit card over the reader without physically touching it and it’ll decrement your credit card or you can build. You could do that on your cell phone and also on your watch by programing your credit card into that wallet. And they also are completely secure transactions. In fact, if you look at the systems that was developed for Apple card. Apple cart is a virtual credit card that Apple issued in August of last year. The issue of physical credit card made out of titanium, but mostly it’s designed to be used with the cell phone or the watch. And if someone should steal your credit card number, the phone could reissue their credit card number immediately. And the physical card that they give you is not even printed with a credit card number on it. They use a very special system to encrypt transactions and to end that Goldman Sachs designed with Apple. And it’s effectively infallible. So it’s actually more secure than using a physical credit card.

In many cases, there might be a fundamental change in the way we consume goods. Right. You know, whether it’s the Amazons of the Wal-Mart of the world, the big box retailers coming up with ways that you really have completely touches transactions. There’s been talk of that moving into the food industry. Right. And what that might look like. And the sad reality of that is it’s going to be probably much more challenging for the smaller providers to compete from a technology standpoint and keep up with the demands of consumers. There’s also the reality that a lot of the big spaces that we use retail. Right, that has already been challenged, the malls and the movie theaters and all that stuff, they may not be coming back in the way that we expect or certainly to the degree that we have them today. Do you think that’s fair?

I think that’s fair. And I think there’s a more long term changes that we’re going to see. I mean, this could be short term changes to try to jury, rig or enable businesses with the technology they need to survive.

Right.

And there may be players that come in in a B2B type of enabling companies a square or, you know, Venmo, these large organizations or these larger consortiums like Zel. Right.

We didn’t have bank to bank, consumer, Tibbett and consumer to business transactions to facilitate it. But then as you talking about things like retail, retail space, large amounts of retail space, we have all these strip malls and shopping malls, which, quite frankly, you say a lot of people may not want to go back into. So what do we do with all this retail space? Do we raise it and create new ways of selling in distributing goods to possible that, you know, especially the think about things like restaurants, the mom and pop restaurants may not be long for this world.

It’s estimated between 40 and 80 percent of restaurants will be closed within the next six months to a year because of the economic implications of this pandemic.

So what we might see instead, a mom and pop restaurants is highly capitalized businesses that buy these large commercial great kitchens in which you have potentially these mom and pops that will move into these tenancies and these large kitchens where it might be shared by, say, 100 different restaurant businesses. And you’ll have a centralized distribution and delivery mechanism.

You might have your Chinese restaurant, your tiny restaurant, your Indian restaurant, your sushi restaurant, your pizza restaurant operating under the same roof. And there may be five different virtual businesses, but they might have to share the same infrastructure and then have that all delivered and ordered by things like cell phones, like things like Obreht or maybe some other application will come out. Maybe Amazon will really dove into this. Or Apple or who knows.

You’re also going to see I think the retail space is optimized for quick pickup and not for long term types of parking type of things, but facilitated for curbside pickup in pickup and go type of situations where you don’t want the consumers walking into those stores and interacting with each other. You’ll have the depot of some sort. Whether it’s for food or durable goods, I see the larger players like the he is or the world of the targets and the Wal-Mart’s Costco’s big box stores being able to do those sorts of things.

You know, I think you’re also indicating is that if you’re a business owner today, you’re gonna really have to be flexible and ambidextrous, almost. Right. You have to survive. Right now and keep business afloat, but also have your eye to the future of how things are going to look different. What technology is going to impact your business, what your consumers, your clients, your customers are going to want from you going forward? You a landscaping business or if you’re a contractor, maybe your business hasn’t fundamentally changed in the delivery of what you do. Still going to go in and paint a house or repair a kitchen or cut somebody’s lawn. But the way you get paid may look very different in your engagement and interaction with your clients may look very different. But if you’re a retailer, if you provide a different type of good or if you provide a service like we do in our industry, things may look a little different, right. If you’re in the trust business. And if you’re in the advisory and guidance business, your business model may look a little different going forward to survive what the new normal looks like. Folks are actually getting on board with you fairly quickly. That may have been resistant to it in the past. Even in the medical space, my kids did their eye exams with their eye doctor remotely with a video conference, and he had the chart and the whole thing.

And my one kid had held the phone and the other one read the numbers off there. It was amazing. And now they’re getting updated scripts for their glasses. And it was so impressive to watch. And I get. Talk to the physician afterwards. I was like, that was unbelievable. And like, yeah, we came up with that pretty quickly. We had to adapt. Current state can’t bring your kids into the office, but we need to make sure that they’re getting care. It’s amazing to me how quickly folks have adjusted.

It’s convenient. It’s cost effective. And the technology exists to do it in a safe way.

I think, again, we’re just in the early stages. Right. I think I think everyone’s in a reaction mode. The matter of retooling that’s going to have to happen. With your average small business, it’s gonna be significant. Could be retooling costs to be able to deal with this push. Cauvin, 19 way of transacting. I think right now is just a lot of adaptation and it’s really a hack with these businesses are trying to do it in order to stay alive.

There’s gonna be adaptations. And right now, it’s just stay alive. Right. Let’s get through the worst of this until we can figure out what post Kovik 19 world is going to look like. I’m curious, though, one of the things that I think people have raised concerns over, and I’m sure you can give some thoughts on this, is there’s two things I’ve heard raised as fears. One is we kind of quickly given up these concerns about privacy to really like the logistics of safety and social distancing, has pushed people’s concerns about all of these major tech companies having so much access to their information. Or were you shared loading my credit card onto my phone so they don’t have to touch anything? But what if it gets hot? It’s all of these privacy concerns and security concerns seem to have been pretty quickly pushed away once people realized that there was a way to do this because they needed to so that they could stay healthy. Do you think that that continues or do you think that there is a reversion to now that I feel a little more comfortable with my health or my safety? I’m really concerned about Amazon having all of my information all the time.

I think, you know, that there’s going to be a definite trend towards more awareness about information security from the consumer perspective. And I think that the retailers that are able to be operationalized around security and to add more security features are going to be the ones that are going to do extremely well. So like I said, I mentioned apple cart.

Apple card is a little bit different than the way a regular credit card works. They had the special organization that they’ve built with Goldman Sachs that basically makes it impossible for that credit card strip to be read and lifted. So there is much that can be done in the banking space, as much that can be done in the financial transaction space, in the business, the business space, consumer debt, business transaction space. I think that this is the new normal. Once you learn that there are recourses for dealing with fraud and things like that, then these technologies may make fraud much more difficult. If we’re dealing with street and end communications between banks, when you have less of a middleman, I think there’s going to be less of a chance for there to be fraud, especially you think of stuff like Zel. I mean, how do you fraud Zel? If it’s if it’s if it’s Chase Manhattan talking to a credit union basically directly connected to each other. Those things are not going over the public Internet. When those transactions occur, when you remove the middleman, it’s humans out of the equation. I think it actually in a lot of situations is going to make it safer. Just the question is, you’re only as good as your weakest link. I think, you know, there may be less credit card fraud if we deal with direct financial transactions because there’s no one to copy a credit card number because you can’t see it. So I think there will be enabling technologies that will improve the experience. And then people will say, well, why? How did we ever do it this way in the beginning? Right. I think I’m probably still walking around with the same hundred dollars in cash that I did six months ago. I don’t even want to pull it out of my wallet.

Right. No need for it anymore. Right. But the second question is that I think is a concern and I can understand it is do we have the bandwidth? Do we have the infrastructure to handle this? Because there’s been, I think, a lag in upgrading some of our infrastructure when it comes to some of this technology. Is the country set up to handle this, to take the volume? I know locally here there was a lot of concern with the Wi-Fi hold up to all of these transactions, all of these people online at the same time trying to do this type of work. What’s that going to look like going forward? Can the country handle this?

I think that as far as our basic network infrastructure, we talk about the 18 Ts and the horizon and such to the world that own the information superhighway, the plumbing, so to speak. The plumbing is intact. We have plenty of plumbing as far as large commercial bandwidth. The cloud providers is basically what kept us going through with this Koban 19 crisis. If there wasn’t a cloud transformation by companies like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, Oracle Cloud, IBM Cloud, et cetera, none of these things would work. If this had happened 20 years ago, we would be in big trouble because we will be dependent on private data center capabilities and the fact that the monetization at these large cloud providers is the upgrade their equipment every six months to a year. So as far as the infrastructure, yes, that’s fine.

But we need to be concerned about these things, what we call the ad network. So that is what we call the last mile or so of connectivity from someone like an AT&T to your home.

So in my case, I have a fiber optic cable that comes directly into my house.

I’m one of the growing numbers of communities that has access to direct fiber to the House infrastructure. And there are better ways of now of installing that different residential communities. And in suburbia, you have better ways of getting it in there without doing it to invasively. But the problem is that you look at these services like Netflix, where you’re sucking in a lot of bandwidth, watch a movie. That’s where I think we know when people at home at night and they’re overloading those networks, that can be problematic. So what you’re seeing now is a build out of what they call the edges, where they’re installing these computer systems closer to the home. So you’d have a couple of facilities in your town which would have all those movies and content stored there so that you don’t have to go across the entire town. And it could be 100 miles away to get to that data that you’re streaming that movie for. So build out of the what we call the Edge Network or tache networks is what’s going to be, I think, essential in the next three, four, five years going forward as people move towards the home and they start consuming more and more. These movies start using more and more of these building type services and things like that. The bandwidth intensive stuff, I think, is where some residences and some businesses are at a disadvantage. But I think that the telecom providers will really look to shore up at least the next 18 months.

We have to trust it. The one thing that obviously has been a hallmark of our country for a long time is the ability for businesses to get innovative, move forward and lead, and so confident that there’s enough people working on this that they’ll come up with the right solutions. But things may look very different. Before I let you go. I want to get some final thoughts. But I also want your thoughts on this idea that this nine to five business days might look very different. That may go the way of the dodo to that flexible working days, people coming and going in different times. The businesses may need to be fluid and 24/7. And some people might have all the time during the day and work later in the evening. And that whole balance of family and work may look very different going forward.

Yeah. Like I said, I’ve worked full time for 15 years, so my work life balance has always been based on whatever company I worked for, whether it was a Microsoft or an IBM or as a personal consultant on Wall Street. It’s always been measured by key performance indicators, not necessarily what time you show up to the office. I think that performance evaluations now have to be based on does the work get done? Not when it gets done in the technology industry.

A lot of us have already used to that to begin with. And there are teams that are spread apart, the United States. I have many colleagues that work in San Francisco, but I also have many colleagues that work on the East Coast and also in Europe and in Asia where geographically distributed organization.

I think that now, as gills are brought on from different parts of the country, different parts of the world, I think that what we call that nine to five workday is really going to be a very different thing for a lot of us.

You’re working with a colleague in Europe. Your meeting might be at a different day here. It may not be at 9:00 a.m. East Coast time. Right. It’s going to be when it needs to be where you can get your calendar sinked. And that might fundamentally change what your day looks like. And you may be taking a three hour break in the middle of the afternoon because that’s what makes sense.

Right. And so this that might be the family time. That might be when you’re getting your exercise in. It looks like for you it just may look very different than it does in the traditional sense of community process. Working 9:00 to 5:00, come home and get your downtime. It may not look like that again in this post-cold world. Jason, before I let you go, any final thoughts for our listeners on what is your world thinking about what’s on the cusp for us that we may not know is coming or what final thoughts can you share? And the effect that a pandemic has had on all the technology that’s around us?

If I knew it was coming, I’d probably be much wealthier man than I am.

Disruption often like this. It creates opportunity. I think right now we’re not focused on the opportunity. We’re focused on the self preservation aspect of what this thing has caused. But I think that we have to recognize that this is a disruptive time, that there’s going to be, unfortunately, business failure. I think there’s a guarantee there’s going to be a business failure, but there’s also going to be business growth. So things like virtual stores, logistics, I think logistics is going to be one of the biggest fields right now in terms of being able to to coordinate delivery and appointments and all those types of things. The transportation of goods that’s we’re going to be huge in the next three, four, five years as people more adapt to this model. But again, I don’t think we should despair. We should look up. I think that there probably will be a cure for this virus in terms of there being a vaccine. But there’s always going to be viruses. There’s always going to be disruptions or different types. We just have to learn to be more agile. And I think that if anything’s going to come out of this is that businesses will now learn that nothing is guaranteed and that agility is going to be an important aspect of the way that they operate going forward.

On that very hopeful note. Like a Phenix from the ashes. We’ll get through this. And businesses will survive. They’ll adapt. And the country has already shown the consumer has already shown its willingness to adapt and change. So a lot of hope for what things could look like going forward. Jason Parrello, thank you so much for joining us on the show today. My pleasure. There is no doubt that the Cauvin 19 pandemic has had a massive impact on the technology around us. It has changed the way we work, the way we interact at home, the way we shop, the way we spend time with our families. It has been a catalyst to unbelievably accelerated change and our team is living through it. With you, we have experienced the same disruption that you ask. We can share the lessons we’ve learned. So if you’re struggling to work through this on your own or if you’re working with an advisor who hasn’t adapted, who hasn’t faced these changes and isn’t delivering a differentiated experience for you today. We have and we are at CNN and we can help. We’d love to hear from you. Shoot us an email at Ask Steve at CNN Plan dot com. That’s ask Steve at CNN Klann dot com or call her office anytime at two one five five five eight three five zero zero.

Thanks again to listen to the your life your well show on John Walker. Stay safe and have a great week.

If you’re interested in learning more about applying the principles we discussed to your personal financial circumstances, please visit Cordasco Financial Network at CNN Plan dot com or call our office at two one five five five eight. Thirty five hundred. We hope you’ll join us again next time on the your life. Your Wealth. Network.